Hazard, Kentucky

Hazard is a home rule-class city[5] in and the county seat of Perry County, Kentucky, United States.[6] The population was 4,457[7] at the 2010 Census.

Hazard, Kentucky
Queen City of the Mountains
Location of Hazard in Perry County, Kentucky
Coordinates: 37°14′55″N 083°11′42″W
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedApril 30, 1884
Named forCdre. Oliver Hazard Perry
  MayorDonald “Happy” Mobellini[1]
  City ManagerDerrick Hall [2]
  Assistant City ManagerAmie Bedwell[2]
  City Treasurer / Secretary to the MayorBeverly Combs Maggard[2]
  Total7.60 sq mi (19.67 km2)
  Land7.45 sq mi (19.29 km2)
  Water0.15 sq mi (0.38 km2)  0%
928 ft (283 m)
  Density652.52/sq mi (251.95/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
41701, 41702
Area code606
FIPS code21-35362
GNIS feature ID0512617


Local landowner Elijah Combs Sr. laid out the town in 1824 as the planned seat of the newly established Perry County. Both the town and the county were named for Cdre. Oliver Hazard Perry, a commander in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.[8] The post office was initially known as Perry Court House but the name was officially changed to Hazard in 1854.[9] The city was formally incorporated by the state assembly in 1884.[10]

Coal miners' children cross a footbridge into Hazard, Kentucky, July 1940. Photograph by Marion Post Wolcott.

Long isolated by the surrounding mountains, Hazard was opened to the outside world by the arrival of the railroad in 1912. The only access to the valley had previously been 45 miles down the North Fork of the Kentucky River or a two-week trip over the surrounding mountains. The railroad brought boom times to the town, but the Great Depression saw prosperity end as quickly as it had begun.

The song "High Sheriff of Hazard" was written by Tom Paxton in reference to a coal miner's strike in 1964.

In 1981, several cast members of the television series The Dukes of Hazzard, including Catherine Bach, James Best, Sorrell Booke and Rick Hurst, visited Hazard during its Black Gold Festival.[11] Soon afterwards, the series' stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider made appearances in Hazard.

Although there has been a steady decline in Hazard's population since the 1950s, there have been numerous commercial and residential developments within the city. The city is also actively working on a downtown renaissance plan to rejuvenate its business district. Nonetheless, in July 1999, Hazard was the first stop on President Bill Clinton's tour of poverty-stricken communities that had failed to share in the boom of the 1990s. Hillary Clinton visited Hazard on November 2, 2008, at a political rally for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford.[12][13]


Hazard is located at 37°15′21″N 83°11′37″W (37.255910, -83.193706).[14]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.0 square miles (18 km2), all land.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hazard has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[15]


Historical population
2019 (est.)4,860[4]9.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 4,806 people, 1,946 households, and 1,266 families residing in the city. The population density was 684.6 people per square mile (264.3/km2). There were 2,291 housing units at an average density of 326.4 per square mile (126.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.26% White, 6.58% African American, 0.08% Native American, 2.06% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.46% of the population.

There were 1,946 households, out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.9% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,690, and the median income for a family was $27,226. Males had a median income of $34,398 versus $22,386 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,782. About 30.9% of families and 30.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 44.3% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.


  • Hazard Community and Technical College
  • Hazard Independent Schools – a school district that serves the city; operates one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school
  • Perry County Schools – operates six elementary schools, one K–12 school, one high school, and one alternative school
  • Hazard Christian Academy

Hazard has a lending library, the Perry County Public Library.[18]


The Mother Goose House in Hazard, Kentucky



Main Street


  • Hazard Herald
  • Perry County Advocate

Notable people

People who were born in or residents of Hazard include:

Red Allen19301993bluegrass singer, a native of in Pigeon Roost Hollow in Perry County, was a member of the Osborne Brothers band.
Sam Smith1944one of the first three African American basketball players at the University of Louisville, later played for the Chicago Bulls; born in Hazard.
Mary Lou Turner1947country music singer born in Hazard. Turner recorded the #1 song, "Sometimes" with Bill Anderson.
Joe Craft1950namesake of the Joe Craft Center, UK's practice basketball facility. Born in Hazard.
Louann Brizendine1952a Hazard native. neuropsychiatrist. Was a clinician, researcher, and professor (1985–88, on the faculty at Harvard, and from 1988 onwards at UC San Francisco). She is the best-selling author of "The Female Brain" (2006) and "The Male Brain" (2010).
Daniel Mongiardo1960physician, Democratic Kentucky Senator, and Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
Brandon Smith1967businessman, Republican Kentucky Representative and Senator.
Rebecca Gayheart1971American actress.
Baddiewinkle1928American internet personality.


  1. "Judge swears-in new city officials". Hazard Herald. December 14, 2014. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  2. "City Managers, City of Hazard, KY". Archived from the original on March 27, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  3. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  4. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  6. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. Bergstrom, Bill (December 11, 1984). "Origins of place names are traced". Kentucky New Era. pp. 2B. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  9. Rennick, Robert M. (1987). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 134–135. ISBN 0813126312. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  10. Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Hazard, Kentucky". Accessed 29 July 2013.
  11. Hensley, Steve (September 17, 2009). "A look back at the 1981 Black Gold Festival". WYMT-TV. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  12. "Hillary makes pick in KY House speaker race?[permanent dead link]" Pol Watchers. Accessed 2 November 2008.
  13. "Hillary Clinton Stumps For Bruce Lunsford Archived 2011-05-23 at the Wayback Machine". WYMT-TV. Accessed 2 November 2008.
  14. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  15. "Hazard, Kentucky Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  16. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  18. "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2019.

Further reading